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New Jersey Superior Judge James P. Savio

Atlantic Democrats reopen postponing county committee elections

Judge asked to vacate April ruling that required 2020 elections

By David Wildstein, May 11 2020 1:02 pm

The race for Democratic county committee in Atlantic County may be off again.

Atlantic County Democrats are asking a judge to vacate his order to hold county committee elections in the July 7 primary election after the party organization amended its by-laws to push the elections until next year.

The by-laws amendment was voted on remotely last week, and passed by a vote of 218 to 20 (92%-8%).  Turnout was 81%.

Superior Court Judge James P. Savio ruled last month that Democratic county chairmen in Atlantic and Cape May counties could not unilaterally move their party election to 2021, since they did not have the consent of the current county committee.

The ruling applied only to Atlantic and Cape May Democrats, since they were the only ones involved in the lawsuit.

Cape May did not move to amend their bylaws and have decided to elect the county committee in 2020.  This move became easier when less than 15 progressive challengers actually filed nominating petitions before an extended filing deadline of April 21.

Flavio Komuves, an attorney who represented the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, the NJ CD-2 Progressive Democrats and county committee candidates Cassandra Gatelein in Cape May and Helen Duda in Atlantic, declined comment.

Savio is conferencing with lawyers on the case today.

Fourteen county party organizations of both parties across the state have decided to move their county committee elections and party reorganization meetings until next year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

New Jersey Democratic State Committee officials recommended that counties extend the terms of county committee members across the state, but not a directive.

Updated at 2:28 PM: In a  telephone conference on Monday, Savio set a hearing from Thursday.  That could be cancelled if the Komuves’ clients decide to challenge the Atlantic Democratic request.

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